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TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio review

TomTom's out to prove it's serious about fitness

TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio
TomTom: good for your heart

TomTom app

In a move that will surprise nobody, TomTom has MySports apps for iOS , Android and MySports Connect software PC/Mac desktops.

I tested the Mac desktop and paired it with the Android app. The Android app is relatively simple, but once paired with your device gives you a convenient way to upload and sync your sessions, and the data that's available is decent enough.

In 'Activities' you have a chronological list of recorded runs, showing distance and duration, which once clicked through bring you a deeper level of data such as calories burned, pace, elevation, HR and stride. There's a nice splits vs laps display, and a handy graph where you can map HR to speed via the dropdowns, which is an interesting exercise.

TomTom Runner Cardio

There's also a map, which shows up the GPS chip again with a series of 'running in the river' moments, interspersed with cutting through buildings and avoiding bridges, as the error correction straight lines between plot points.

Overall it's a decent app, but nothing that an Endomondo or Runsense doesn't deliver too. The desktop (on Mac at least) feels clunkier, and can take a while to connect and sync. Once you're in you've got a similar activity interface, but with a crucial addition - a 'race this' button, which allows you to load a specific route back into the watch as a 'Race' for you to beat.

However, there's no function to construct your own 'race' without tracking it first, or to follow other people's 'races' and compete against them, such as with Endomondo, Strava, etc.

Overall it's not a bad desktop experience, but it does require a fair bit of syncing action to uncover fairly sparse stats, and by adding the 'Race this' button to the mobile app they would provide similar levels of insight.

Additional Features

Another major plus point of the TomTom is that it doesn't try and do anything else. There are no smartphone alerts, no sleep tracking, no activity tracker. Just running, time and date, oh, and a stopwatch. That's great news, because it's too large to be worn in general social situations anyway, and it's a very good running watch without diluting itself with other junk.

Overall I liked the single-mindedness of it, though the cycling and swimming tracking are notably poorer than the running.

Cardio

We liked

It's the best HR wrist sensor I've used - consistently within 1 BPM of a chest strap. The UI is very logical and it's really super-simple to get up and running - in fact waiting for satellite lock is the longest part of the process. The app is good as well.

We disliked

Surprisingly for the brand, GPS is pretty poor -- without regular syncing with a desktop or mobile app to handover your coordinates this watch takes a long time to get a satellite lock. In winter that's not very funny. It's also quite bulky, by no means a subtle device, and although its comfy enough when worn it's a big beast to truck around. Battery life is also no up to scratch, seven hours or less isn't really good enough. You might get a week's worth of runs out of it, but only just, and I found occasional random battery drain (admittedly on an older test model) stymied my plans to run with it.

Verdict

The heart rate monitor is accurate enough, kept in the optimum position by the broad strap. The watch is comfortable in use and prices have dropped considerably from the TomTom's launch.

However, the look is slightly dated, and I found the GPS pretty sketchy - a shame when so many running watches suffer from the opposite issue (terrible HR monitor, great GPS).

With a better GPS and slightly less bulk this would be an excellent running watch, but you could argue that Suunto, Polar and Garmin's top-end offerings offer similar or better results but with less compromise.